Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Polka-dotted comfort

Mister G, the kid who hasn't gone anywhere different, he's having a tough adjustment. He's the biggest big kid! (self-titled, you know) but he's never really thought of himself as belonging to himself. He keeps looking around for L. He repeats her favorite phrases as if they still must be uttered even in her absence. L, who always hoped for the front parking spot on the daycare driveway, isn't here to request it. But as we came up the drive this morning G spoke tentatively, Mama, will you park in the front? The ritual had to be completed even if the former conjurer has left the party.

He woke up early this morning, too early, and the girls snuggled him on the couch. The boy who never holds still sat nestled in their arms. He needed to soak them in before they left him.

He's been asking about both girls but it's L who's been his day-in-day-out companion, and he's looking lost without her. I got him after school and we walked to the car, crossing the drive and heading in to the parking garage, me trying to shake up the old routine a little, giving him room to find the freedom to be whoever he wants, not just little brother in someone else's script. When I picked up two kids there was always so much stuff to carry, projects and bags and jackets and food, and not being a pack mule I always brought the car to the daycare door. It's just the two of us now in the afternoons, and I'm trying out the idea of walking with G to the car instead getting the car and then getting G.

We were almost to my car and crossing the mostly empty top deck of the garage. Something brushed on my arm and I thought it was a cicada; I swept it off. I miss my L, my sweet G was mourning. "I miss her, toooooo," I wanted to say, for I had just at that moment been thinking how sweet his hand was in mine, how his sister (that particular one) isn't much for handholding, needing instead always her independence, and how in thinking that I thought about her absence, and how happy I am for her to be at her new place but how that doesn't mend the loss I'm feeling of her comforting proximity; but I just said instead "I know, sweet boy, I know," and gave him the I-love-you triple hand squeeze I'm trying to teach him, even though he has decided it means "red light" and finds it hilarious to stop walking immediately.

I really miss her, he repeated, and that bug that wasn't a cicada flew right before us, and it was in fact of all things a ladybug, a sweet ladybug who reminded us both of our Ladybug, sweet L who's had that nickname since forever, and this not-cicada ladybug flew with purpose to us and I am not making that up.

It landed on my hand and G said is it my ladybug? I want to hold my ladybug and I knew what he meant but I also knew what he MEANT but I could only help with the first part so I carefully transferred the gentlest bug ever from my palm to his and it walked delicately, a sign or a balm or a gift or a total serendipitous coincidental chance of fate and wind direction

and G and I watched it for a few moments, it lingered with us, and when it left it flew not away but in a circle around us and up in a widening spiral, not leaving so much as rising, growing, not gone but out of sight.

And we finished the walk to the car so much cheerier, hand-squeezing now for happiness instead of lamentation, and hurried home to talk to our girls and hear about their first day of school.

(I'll tell you more about the girls tomorrow.)

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